The Kinross Manufacturing Corporation property is an abandoned munitions production facility on the grounds of a former U.S. Air Force base in northern Michigan, near the town of Kincheloe. The Air Force used the property as a munitions storage area from 1952 until they closed the base in 1977. After the base was closed, civilian operations, including the Kinross Manufacturing Corporation (KMC), used the property for construction of munitions. In 1989, during an FBI investigation of allegations of fraud, conspiracy, and illegal hazardous waste disposal activities at KMC, the corporation filed for bankruptcy and closed their operations. The property has since been vacant and the title is held by a court-appointed trustee.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) investigated the property in 1990, and found drummed chemical wastes and unexploded ordnance. At the MDNR's request, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) removed large quantities of wastes and contaminated soil from the property in 1991. In 1995, a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigated the property to determine whether the property contributed to chlorinated hydrocarbon contamination occasionally seen in nearby township wells. The contractor concluded that the property was not a source for volatile organic chemical contamination in the groundwater. In 1997, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality carried out a Brownfield Redevelopment Assessment at the property.
Unexploded ordnance and explosive waste on the ground surface in an area that was used as a test firing range north of the property poses an urgent health hazard. This material should be removed for proper disposal. Areas of soil with high lead and chromium concentrations should be evaluated for appropriate treatment if the property is to be developed for residential use. The buildings contain lead-based paint and asbestos-containing materials, which should be treated appropriately during any future renovation or demolition.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has asked the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to evaluate the health risks associated with the Kinross Manufacturing Corporation property as part of a Brownfields Project.
The Kinross Manufacturing Corporation (KMC) property is a 63.9-acre abandoned munitions production facility on the grounds of the former Kincheloe Air Force Base (KAFB) at 465 Watertower Road, Kincheloe, Michigan (Figure 1). The Air Force originally constructed the KAFB between 1941 and 1946, and built a weapons storage facility on the land that eventually became the KMC property in 1952. The facility eventually included 14 buildings and 4 ammunition bunkers. The Air Force closed the KAFB in 1977. A civilian operation, Balimoy, manufactured munitions on the KMC property in 1979-80. The Kinross Manufacturing Corporation began manufacturing munitions on the KMC property in 1983. The KMC operation included chromium plating of munition parts. In 1989, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated allegations that KMC had committed fraud, conspiracy, and illegal hazardous waste disposal activities. During the investigation, KMC closed their operations and filed for bankruptcy. In 1992, the president of KMC pled guilty to charges of defense contractor fraud in exchange for the dismissal of environmental charges. During the investigation, a former KMC employee admitted to illegally dumping chrome plating waste on the ground and into trenches on the property. The property is currently vacant, and the title is held by a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee (1,2) The MDEQ has informally heard of proposals to use the property for new industrial facilities or for residential uses. Neither the MDCH nor MDEQ has heard whether a decision has been made as to the future use of the property (3).
In 1990, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) investigation of the closed KMC facility found drummed chemical wastes, other chemicals, and signs of trespass and vandalism. The MDNR asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to conduct an emergency removal at the property. From June through September 1991, the U.S. EPA carried out an emergency removal at the property, removing approximately 450 drums (mainly chromate waste), 4 underground storage tanks, 180 cubic yards of lead-contaminated soil, 25 grams of uranyl acetate, and several thousand small munitions. Only grossly-contaminated soils were removed, with no further investigation of the extent of contamination (1).
In 1995, a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) conducted a Remedial Investigation (RI) of the property to determine whether KMC was a source of chlorinated organic compounds occasionally found in nearby Kinross Township water supply wells. The township water system is based on the former KAFB water system, and services the entire former KAFB, including the KMC property (2). The township has used a total of eight wells, though only four are in current use. Three of the active municipal wells are approximately 0.5 miles south of the KMC property and one is approximately 1 mile east of the property. One formerly-used municipal well was at the southwest corner of the KMC property, a second approximately 0.3 miles to the southwest, the third 0.7 miles south, the fourth 2 miles south (4). The three active municipal wells south, downgradient, of the property have had a history of contamination with tetrachloroethylene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. These wells are screened at 110 to 189 feet below the ground surface. The subsoil in the property vicinity consists of glacially-deposited sand and gravels. There is one aquifer in the sand, from 100 to 300 feet thick. The RI concluded there was no chlorinated organic contamination in the groundwater at the KMC property (2).
In late October 1997, the MDEQ carried out field work for a Brownfields Redevelopment Assessment (BFRA) at the KMC property (1).